The Q&A Archives: What Can Go In A Compost Bin?

Question: What things can I include in a compost bin. I want to start one and I know that there are many things that should and shouldn't go in the bin. I want to know what kitchen scraps can I include, egg shells, veggie clippings?

Answer: There is a lot written about composting. If you read it all you could come away thinking that only a rocket scientist can know enough to succeed in composting. Therefore I must say that it is important to realize that organic matter will decompose over time, with our without our involvement. So the main thing we do is to make conditions right for it to decompose more quickly, but there's nothing wrong with slow composting either!

Things that help speed up the composting process are: shredding the materials (smaller particle size), mix nitrogen (green stuff) and carbon (brown stuff) material about half and half, keep the pile moist (decomposing microbes need moisture), but not too wet (anaerobic decomposition produces foul odors), and finally turn the pile periodically to mix outer material into the center of the pile. Additionally, make the pile large enough to heat up well (4 foot in diameter is about right). You can compost food scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells, but don't include dairy products, grease, fish or meat as these tend to attract unwanted visitors to the pile.

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